ELMHURST, Ill. -- Elmhurst Police have now entered the investigation into what is now a series of hate crimes, most recently escalating last night into the assault of a female student.
The Muslim student's tearful friends say, and Elmhurst College officials confirm, that the woman was knocked unconscious with a handgun by a white man wearing a ski mask Thursday night. No shots were fired.
"She's OK," Elmhurst College spokesman Charley Henderson said. "She left the campus under her own power last night."
The college was on lockdown Thursday night as police investigated the attack of the woman in a lower-level bathroom at the college's Schaible Science Center. The college sent an emergency text message to students, urging them to stay indoors while police scoured the campus for a suspect. The lockdown was lifted after the search.
"There was at least one student organization meeting (in the building). The building was by no means locked," which is not unusual at that hour, Henderson said.
The same student, and Oak Brook native, said her locker was defaced last week. The same words of hate scrawled on her locker were also found on a mirror.
A Nazi symbol and some incendiary phrases were found drawn and written in black marker, and that incident was treated as a potential hate crime, Henderson said.
At this hour, several hundred students are staging a sit-in on the campus' Quad with passionate and emotional speeches denouncing what happened.
There was no one in custody.
The description of the alleged attacker is vague: a white male, about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and wearing a ski mask.